NewsPositively Montana


Arlee rancher helps neighbors, firefighters during Big Knife Fire

Big Knife Fire burning Arlee Mt.
Posted at 8:58 PM, Jul 31, 2023

ARLEE - A local resident is going above and beyond to help his neighbors who live close to the Big Knife and those who are fighting the blaze.

“Well, it’s probably my responsibility it’s my place right here, Charlie Hanson said about his land.

He owns a ranch in Arlee that is close to where the Big Knife Fire is burning and while most residents would rightfully prepare to evacuate or take measures to save their own homes when a fire is this close, Hanson has found ways to help others.

Charlie Hanson on his ranch Arlee Mt.

“Well, when it started we needed to build a small bridge like right there so we built a bridge so the firefighters could get back and forth across the creek to go up across toward Big Knife, and then my aunt and uncle live right here and we put a sprinkler system around their place," Hanson said. "Monday morning I took an excavator and lined this whole property here so she had a line so it was protecting them.”

Hanson also worked to make sure a nearby pond was filled so the helicopters fighting the fires could dump water on the fire and refill in a fraction of the time.

His care and dedication to the firefighters and his community is greatly appreciated by his neighbors — including Christine Dix.

“Yeah, he just helps with, you know, anything… he’ll help anybody and give you the shirt off his back he just gets things done so you don’t have to worry about nothing. So that’s why probably I didn’t evacuate or move my animals or anything because I knew he wouldn’t let it get this far.”

Charlie has also received praise from the firefighters.

“Firefighters down there they're thanking me every day for keeping the water maintained and so the helicopters can do their job and yeah they've been really nice.”